Transform Your Life With A Morning Routine

When my twins turned 1 I didn’t return to my corporate HR job. I became a stay-at-home mum with a bunch of side hustles. One of my hustles was researching photos and coordinating permissions for textbooks used in colleges and universities.

Having that job was fantastic. It was 10 hours a week and completely flexible. I worked from home primarily through email. It felt awesome to be home with my kids and caregiving them full-time while also contributing to our family finances.

The challenge was focus and quiet time. Two toddlers are busy and loud and can possibly get hurt if I’m not watching… so I got up super early to work before they woke up.

And so began my morning routine.

The feeling of getting a bit of work done in 90 minutes was tremendous. I woke up at 5:30 am and had the coffee already ready. I woke up as I looked through emails and planned my work. Then I stayed super focused cranking out my communications. Once the girls woke up, I left them in their crib talking to each other for a few minutes while I finished my last email. When I picked them up out of their cribs, I was awake, caffeinated, and had a number of items checked off my to-do list.

Before kids I was not open to getting up at 5:30 am. Since that time, I’ve remained an early riser but my morning routine has changed dramatically.

The main difference being – in those early years I was actioning and efforting things into happening. Today, I use my morning routine to do the inner work, grounding, and gratituding that has contributed even more to my success. By starting the day with mindset work and self-care, I find things come a lot easier. I’m attracting good stuff – better opportunities, stronger connections, more abundance – and it is not a hustle or a grind. It feels effortless. Great things keep showing up and I’m so, so grateful.

I know I’m more effective because of my morning routine. And, I keep finding ways to optimize it for myself. That’s why I wanted to share this topic with the CareerFit Mom community!

Why It’s Important:

Improved Self-Discipline.
You’re strengthening your will with every morning you consistently get up to move into your established routine. A strong will means you can give yourself a command and then follow it. That is going to create crossover benefits in all areas of your life. You’ll definitely go to bed earlier so you can wake up at an earlier time. You’ll find your focus at work makes you more productive. If you have a healthy habit you’re working on in other areas of your life, such as exercising regularly or making healthier food choices, your self-discipline will kick in exactly when you need it.

Will is like a muscle. We strengthen it by using it.

Increased Mental Toughness:
One article I read to research this topic (https://medium.com/swlh/the-importance-of-a-morning-routine-and-why-you-should-have-one-too-9c412715a655) suggests that waking up is NOT FUN!

What?!

For me it’s fun once I’m up and I get super excited about all the great things that can happen in my upcoming day. I understand not everyone is a morning person. So if that’s you, know that you’re forcing yourself to do something that is creating adversity in a controlled manner. When you’re faced with real life challenges, the idea is that you’ve already built up a reserve to deal with that adversity, because you’re enduring the early morning wake-up call.

Enhanced Productivity Throughout the Day:
Your morning routine will keep you anchored and help you prioritize. It is a gift to engage in activities that light you up in the morning. You will have a more positive mindset all through the day. That high vibrational frequency will allow you to attract more prosperity, love, health, and an abundance of all things good.

Ideas:

Hands Open and Close:
• Our Yoga Teacher, Nadine, suggests opening and closing your hands in a tight fist and wide finger stretch first thing in the morning.
• According to research, fist clenching helps us find inner zen, even though it’s thought to be something we do when we’re angry https://fyiliving.com/uncategorized/firm-muscles-associated-with-strong-willpower
• Clenching our hand muscles is associated with stronger willpower, more charitable behavior, and resilience
• It feels nice too, as we’re pumping blood through our hands and forearms and waking ourselves up

Open Chakras:
• This is something I learned from my Reiki practitioner as I was healing from my concussion
• I’ve been learning more about the chakras and their powers – it is a metaphysical thing that you may or may not be into. I’ve definitely found it to have a calming yet energizing effect as I wake up
• According to energy healers, opening our chakras make us energized & promotes emotional & spiritual growth. We feel free flowing energy, moving within the natural rhythms of our bodies.
• How to: I sit up on the edge of my bed. I rub my hands together vigorously to feel a vibrational energy. Then I place my warm hands on my ears, then my eyes (including my third eye), and finally I stretch my hands up overhead, to welcome good things into my life for the day

Legs Up So Blood Flows:
• Our CFM Instructor Helen suggests lifting your legs up while lying on your back. I do this while lying down on my bed and it can also be beneficial to use a wall. Slide your bum up to the wall as closely as possible and put a pillow under your low back for support
• Putting your legs up helps reverse gravity’s effect on your legs, refreshing your blood supply and recirculating lymph http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/freshliving/2009/08/fresh-morning-legs-up-the-wall.html

Meditation:
• There are so many benefits to meditation, I find it helps me stay grounded during the day when I do it as part of my morning routine
• I ask for guidance for the day and imagine a bright white or violet light radiating from the crown of my head and circulating awareness, health, and calmness
• I’ve also used meditation apps like Headspace and Smiling Mind
• My sister has a cool way of meditating on her way to work, while commuting on the subway. She engages in mindfulness exercises like picking a colour and noticing as many things with that colour. It clears her mind as she preps for her day by quieting the other stresses she would otherwise ruminate on

Gratitude:
• This has been transformational for me. In the past I came and went from a structured gratitude practice. I’ve now been consistent with it for a number of months. Some days I don’t get to it, but certainly most days I do and I notice the difference.
• To learn more about my gratitude practice, and adapt it for your own needs, please visit https://www.careerfitmom.ca/2018/02/13/gratitude_exercise/

Exercise:
• I’ve always preferred morning exercise as it wakes me up and at night intense exercise tends to keep me awake!
• Even if I do 20 minutes of rolling on a foam roller and stretching, or a weight lifting routine, some HIIT, or a longer run, I love the feeling of movement in the morning
• Take as much time as you have for exercise, it doesn’t have to be a full workout. Even 10 minutes of movement will be beneficial

Drink Lemon Water / Apple Cider Vinegar:
• Warm water and lemon has benefits for digestion and waking up my system. It also hydrates me
• I’ve recently starting taking a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and washing it down with my lemon water
• Apple Cider Vinegar cleans your skin, boosts your energy, reduces cravings, improves digestion, enhances your immune system, balances blood sugar and so much more. https://www.elitedaily.com/p/apple-cider-vinegar-in-the-morning-is-the-best-way-to-start-your-day-heres-why-2980715
• Now we have to be careful not to over-do it with the vinegar and lemon as they’re both highly acidic and can cause tooth decay. A good article that examines both the health claims and the supporting research can be found here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/08/22/the-truth-about-lemon-water-on-digestion-and-detoxification_a_21456136/ Read it, and make your own informed decision

Super Busy? 6 Minute “Miracle Morning” from Hal Elrod
Minute One… (Silence)
Minute Two… (Affirmations)
Minute Three… (Visualization)
Minute Four… (Scribing)
Minute Five… (Reading)
Minute Six… (Exercise)
Other Ideas:
• Read a Inspirational or Thought Provoking Passage
• I feel better if I set up the morning the night before: make sure the communal areas in the home are tidy, look out our clothes, have lunches ready for the next day and pack work bags. I also have a no devices rule for myself after a set time and to unwind will read a book in bed. If I do this I wake up more energised and prepared for the day. I also write myself a to do list in the morning of the minimum of what I want to achieve that day.
• I made morning checklists for everyone in the household to eliminate the need for me to ask “do you have…?” Or “did you remember to…?”
• I have a sh!t load of medical tasks in the morning to keep myself alive & hopefully out of the hospital (start my artificial nutrition in a sterile manner) but I make sure to do a slow coffee process (kinda meditative, Chemex), then prayer / scripture – a daily office. I currently use the app – My Daily Office.
• Snuggling with pets or kids or partner

What Not To Do:
Avoid technology and checking email or social media feeds during your morning routine. As soon as you do that, your time belongs to someone else. You’re giving your attention to what someone else wants you to see – an email you need to take action on, a social media message meant to get you to focus on something or somebody else.

Our attention is incredibly fragmented these days by devices and all that comes with them. Take that morning time, whatever amount of time you can give, even if it’s just 6 minutes, completely to yourself.

Get Up Too Early If You’re A Night Owl:
Pushing yourself to rise at 5:00 or 6:00 am if you’ve been up past midnight is unhealthy and goes against the benefits of your morning routine.

If you’re better at night, awesome. Stay true to you. Give your body the 7+ hours of sleep each night that you need and start your morning routine when you get up. If you need to be in the office for a traditional work day and can’t spare the time, go to bed 10 minutes earlier, wake up 10 minutes earlier and give yourself a shortened, but still effective, morning boost.

Make Decisions In The Morning:
Your morning routine can actually start in the evening and many of the women who shared their morning routine ideas use this philosophy.

There is a limit to your willpower and decision making abilities. So plan your day the night before by writing down Six Things you want to accomplish to move you towards your goals. Get everything ready the night before, like prepping coffee, lunches, outfits, the book you want to read…you can even sleep in your workout clothes if your morning routine includes physical exercise.

Press Snooze:
One of our clients wrote in the CareerFit Mom Facebook Group that part of her morning routine is to “not press snooze on the alarm clock”. Angela says, “That extra 10minutes only ever leaves me groggy. Also, if I wake up a bit early then I get up. Again, falling back asleep for a short stint just makes me feel worse.”

I know I feel that way too and have found that my body starts to know it’s natural time to wake up after staying consistent with my 5:30 am time for a few days.

Incorporate An Accountability Partner:
My coach suggested I write an affirmation about a program I’m launching with my business, then say it out loud every morning and text her with “Day 1 Done”, “Day 5 Done” etc. I’m working towards 30-days as a way to internalize that affirmation about the positive impact of the program. How it’s going to help more women.

By having her as my accountability partner, I’m way more likely to take the action and create a new, healthy habit.

I’m now using this approach with some of my clients. One woman needs motivation to write in her gratitude journal. She texted me when she engaged in her gratitude practice everyday for 7 days. She found it so beneficial and it had spillover effects in her family as they were curious about what she was doing. Her husband even started the gratitude practice too.

We then used that approach when she needed a push to to apply for positions online. She saw great jobs but by the time she got home from work at night she was not motivated to do the career transition activities that she knows she needed to do. So she committed to texting me when she finished sending in each of 4 or 5 applications.

Your accountability partner might be your workout buddy, or a reading buddy, or someone you message at a certain time, or even you could even post in our Facebook Group that you’re committed to a particular morning routine. Making that commitment publicly will certainly ensure you stick to it.

My amazing reading buddy, another beautiful Helen in my life, and I do a call at 5:45 am, Monday to Friday. We read different things for a week or sometimes 30 days! Most recently we read chapters from the Law of Attraction book called “Ask & It Is Given” by Jerry and Esther Hicks. We started when I was personal training Helen back in 2016. I coach I was following sent me the chapter on Persistence from Napoleon Hill’s book “Think & Grow Rich”. We took turns reading it every day for 30 days. Back then, we even read on weekends. One of us reads aloud and the other falls along in her copy. When the reader gets tired, she says “pass” and then we switch.

This was October 2016 and I can’t believe the tremendous opportunities that came my way that month. Job offers flying out of three different sources, even though I wasn’t looking. The opportunities to consult with new companies and people seemed to appear. I was in the right place at the right time.

We continued our reading practice and both manifesting our dream homes in the spring of 2017. The reading definitely works for me!

Good habits make life much easier. Pick one thing and add it. Don’t try to do too many new habits all at once.

Until next time
You are strong, you have so much to contribute and it is your time to thrive.

Resources:

The (6-minute) Miracle Morning

Persistence Chapter

Tag on Instagram:
Hal Elrod

Fbook:
Productive Woman Podcast & tag those who contributed

To my own feed and tag nana Jokura and Christy den Haan